Guardians of the Galaxy was a surprise hit in 2014. Based on a somewhat obscure Marvel title and with relatively few links to the main Marvel Cinematic Universe, the film was a critical and commercial smash, and took in a worldwide gross of over $700 million.
Another surprise success was that of the film’s soundtrack. Consisting entirely of classic songs released from 1968 to 1980, Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 sold one million copies and became the first soundtrack consisting entirely of previously released material to top the Billboard 200 album chart. The songs on the soundtrack are used well in the film and appear on a cassette tape owned by main character Peter Quill that acts as his only tangible reminder of the mother he lost and the Earth he was abducted from.
Since music was so important to the first film, The Young Folks staff got to thinking as to what songs they would like to hear in the sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, which will be released in May 2017. The only rule was that we had to pick songs from the same era as the first movie: the late ’60s through the very early ’80s.
Here are our choices, ranging from all time classics to little known treasures:
Electric Light Orchestra – “Mr. Blue Sky”
This just feels like Peter Quill’s unique brand of goofball badassery. With its infectious beat, poppy instrumentation and a blend of Beatles-esque vocals with electronic harmonies, it’s fun and quirky and irresistible. The swell of the strings in the song’s ending is magnanimous, too, making this ELO track so fitting to play while Peter’s drifting through the galaxy in his ship to some incredible destination. – Alana Jane Chase
Flamin’ Groovies – “Shake Some Action”
One of the most inspired picks on the first Guardians soundtrack was the Raspberries’ power pop classic “Go All the Way.” The air-guitar riffs and killer melodies of ‘70s pre-punk power pop fits the mood of the film perfectly and it would be a shame if the sequel doesn’t include another representation from the genre. While not the most famous band in a genre infamously full of great bands who were “almost famous,” the Flamin’ Groovies’ “Shake Some Action” is probably the platonic ideal of a power pop song and has everything that makes me love the genre. The film could get good use of a song like this one that isn’t particularly well known. – Ryan Gibbs
Carly Simon – “You’re So Vain”
I mean, what could go wrong with a Carly Simon song making it onto the Awesome Mix Vol. 2? Really. This song, like the first soundtrack, hails as a huge staple in ’70s music, and to leave it off the soundtrack feels wrong to me. It’s perfect for a small, big or outright climactic scene in the film. The actors have so much potential to give one of the greatest songs a remix out of this world. Yes, I made the joke. – Brooke Pawling Stennett
Journey – “Stone in Love”
I might be a bit biased as this is one of my favorite songs of all time, but how insane would this track be when played over that ubiquitous no holds barred battle royale in the third act? The grooving bass line, the oh so ’80s multiple guitar solos, the build of the drums at the top of the chorus. And the opening lyric, “Those crazy nights, I do remember in my youth,” is perfect for the vibe of Guardians. – Alana Jane Chase
The Emotions – “Best of My Love”
A kickin’ bass feature, classic disco queen harmonies and a full and unmistakable horn ensemble equals straight-up opening number gold. This soul-funk song is begging for a Star-Lord dance sequence, and fast. – Alana Jane Chase
The Only Ones – “Another Girl, Another Planet”
Another power pop choice, this time coming from the late punk era. The Only Ones’ “Another Girl, Another Planet.” Its space metaphors may a little too on the nose for the Guardians soundtrack, but it would be really cool to see this all-time classic single in a big budget movie. Can you believe this song was never a hit anywhere in the world? – Ryan Gibbs
The Damned – “New Rose”
While the first movie’s classic rock soundtrack was terrific, containing several of the best hit songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s, trying to repeat that might not work as well. (If you want another great Guardians of the Galaxy-type compilation, try Hip-O’s Classic Rock Gold.) I think it’d be more interesting if they changed it up with each new soundtrack, going for a different style of music in each subsequent sequel.
An obvious style to jump to would be punk. The first film didn’t really dive into punk, beyond The Runaways’ “Cherry Bomb,” and a soundtrack comprised of some of the genre’s iconic early singles could give the film an edgier feel. If they did this, you could argue about which songs to include, but one that immediately jumps to mind is The Damned’s “New Rose,” perhaps the first single from the U.K. that inarguably fits into the genre. The song is loud and fast enough to offer a new edge to the sequel, but it’s also not so outlandish as to affect the tone. It could offer audiences an easy transition into the new style of music before getting to “Holiday in Cambodia.” – Matt Rice
Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody”
The most iconic scene in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film is the opening dance number by Chris Pratt. When “Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone dropped and the skies opened, I knew I was going to fall in love with this movie. That being said, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is probably my favorite Queen song and has an epic guitar solo that I can picture Pratt giving his all to in another opening sequence. Please. – Brooke Pawling Stennett
Sam & Dave – “Hold On, I’m Comin'”
I want this to be the soundtrack to Peter’s revelation regarding the identity of his father. Whether the big reveal incites anger or inspiration in Peter (the lyrics could be spot on or super ironic depending), blasting this track as he prepares to show up for the showdown will leave the audience amped to the highest level. And not to mention that melody, though. So good. – Alana Jane Chase
David Bowie – “Rebel Rebel” (American Single Mix)
According to James Gunn, he was considering asking David Bowie to cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. How cool would that have been? Even before his death, I thought Bowie would be the only artist that appeared on the first soundtrack that would make an appearance on the sequel’s soundtrack. But which song? “Rebel Rebel” would be an obvious choice considering the mercenary occupations of the characters. Instead of the well-worn album version, this rarely heard American single version would be an interesting substitute. For the single’s American release, Bowie overdubbed a bunch of weirdo additions — like backtracked “shalalas” and oddball percussion — and changed much of the song’s structure. While less known today than the album version (which was also released as a single everywhere else in the world), many Bowie fans prefer this American version. It would be a cool nod to include it on the soundtrack. – Ryan Gibbs
KC & The Sunshine Band – “Give it Up”
I know, I know – “This was already in Kingsman last year!” But this ’80s jam that feels like ’70s funk would be wicked as the “I Want You Back” equivalent of Guardians of the Galaxy 2. – Alana Jane Chase
Eagles – “Hotel California”
The thought of Chris Pratt mouthing along to the lines, “I heard the mission bell, and I was thinking to myself: This could be Heaven or this could be Hell,” was the driving force of this pick. Released in 1976, it’s got that perfect Guardians of Galaxy ’70s and ’80s pop rock that blends so well into the background noise of my favorite heroes. – Brooke Pawling Stennett
Donna Summer – “Try Me, I Know We Can Make It”
Yes, I know this song is 18 minutes long, but hear me out on this one. This incredible disco epic — which for my money stands as the crowning achievement of both Summer and producer Giorgio Moroder — has many bits that could work amazingly in a film like Guardians. There’s certainly enough different moods touched on in here and I’d love to hear those strings and synthesizers soundtracking something nuts like a dogfight. The whole thing could work as an amazing credits song too. – Ryan Gibbs